Thursday, September 03, 2009

North Korean Miners "can't wait to see if this country collapses."

North Korea Today
(Image from NKT)

According to the very useful website North Korea Today, the miners who labor in the lignite coal mines of North Hamgyong Province's Onsung County are losing their motivation to work: "Workers at Sangwha Mine in Onsung Have Low Morale" (North Korea Today No. 291, Friday, August 21, 2009).

Apparently, the goal of making North Korea "a powerful nation" doesn't inspire them as much as the Communist Party expects:
Workers at Sangwha Mine in Onsung County, North Hamgyong Province, have held several meetings to achieve something more than their coal production goals with little progress. In these meetings, county officials and the chief of workers have emphasized their resolution saying, "We must achieve the party's assignments and be part of the force making a powerful nation." Miners seem to disregard such statements about production goals and respond by saying, "We risk our lives to work in the mines and we get almost nothing."
The miners even have the audacity to complain that they receive "almost nothing" for their life-risking work, and they aren't even referring to money:
Cho Kwang-Sik (alias, 50's) said, "Before the late 1990's food crisis, food such as oil, meat and rice wine were well provided. It was a good time for us to work hard. Since the food crisis, people are suffering from hunger. Ten years have passed and we are still hungry. No matter if we work hard or not, there is no difference, we just don't get enough food. The monthly food provisions, such as whole corn, are not provided in a timely manner, and only last for 15-days. Often times we don't even receive any food ration at all. How can we work hard in this situation?"
The Communist Party of North Korea since the beginning of Kim Jong-il's regime has thus given a new twist to St. Paul's adage in 2 Thessalonians 3:10: 'Even if anyone should work, he shall not eat much.' Not even if he works a lot:
Ryu Jung-Ae (alias, 40's) said, "Even though I work everyday, I am extremely sad and furious that I cannot support myself, let alone my family. After a meal, I have to worry about the next meal. A day passes, and I have to worry about what to eat the next day. How can I live like this? We cannot openly say, 'I can't wait to see if this country collapses,' but the majority of us think this way."
Now that is interesting. Most of the miners, struggling hard at day-to-day survival, are eagerly wishing for a North Korean collapse. That state, however, is very effective at one thing: inspecting and controlling:
Some other miners stated, "It's so hard to survive without proper food rations. And on top of that, there is so much control and so many kinds of inspections that I get very tired and angry. Our future is as dark as a mine tunnel without any sign of light ahead." Most of the miners feel the same and the morale of the miners seem to be extremely low. Another miner said, "The officials are trying to encourage us to work hard with lectures and propaganda, but I don't see it having any impact on us to meet the production goals unless they can guarantee our livelihood."
Obviously, the North Korean state has lost the wherewithall to reward the miners for their work. It can only exhort them and keep an ever-watchful eye on their labor . . . an implicit threat ever present.

But the state is failing at the very basic level of feeding its workers, which means that it is slowly collapsing under the weight of its corrupt nomenklatura, and no 'brilliant' military-first policy by Kim Jong-il can prevent that.

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At 9:03 AM, Blogger Moran said...

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At 10:57 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Thank you, Ms. Seo. I'll send you an email.

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